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West Sussex Youth Offending Team - Story Books Featured

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Summary: West Sussex YOT run an intervention designed to support and challenge some of their young people's beliefs.Young people create books,as part of the intervention, which question and encorage debate,exploring the risks and consequences of all choices and actions 
Level 2
Age: 10-17
Sex: N/A
Cost: None



  • Create an environment that encourages young people to discuss their offending behaviour and support to develop victim empathy
  • Discuss the impact of young people’s actions and consequences that can have long term implications for the young person themselves
  • Support the young people to look at their decision making process and identifying areas where alternative choices could  have been made



West Sussex YOT children’s books are designed to support and challenge some of the young people’s beliefs. The books question and encourage debate, exploring the risks and consequences of all choices and actions. 

The book builds on existing empathy and victim awareness but can also be used to challenge young people who struggle with these concepts. By discussing situations where young people have had empathy towards another, or where they felt they had been a victim of someone else’s actions themselves, parallels can be drawn and developed. The books can support with giving the victim a voice.

As part of the session young people are asked to talk about their offence and to pin point where they could have made different choices. It is then explored how their life could have been different if they had taken an alternative path. We sometimes describe this to the young people as sliding doors (The butterfly effect).

We look at how life can change from one small decision. We try to include things that are important in the young person’s life at the time; this could be getting back into education, health, or sports and hobbies.

The book works best when the young person has ownership over it, making the decisions and questioning their own outcome. 

The attachments below Illustrate the work completed by some West Sussex YOT young people. 

Case managers using the Children’s Books have reported numerous benefits for the YP including; improved understanding of the impact of their offending behaviour and offences, increase awareness of their actions and the consequences that result from them as well as the impact of positive decision making. 


Implementing the Practice:

  • The books are used by case managers during supervision
  • Little additional training is required to implement the programme, it is expected that staff have standard training and have a positive and meaningful relationship with the young person.
  • The books can be created in various session and can be as big or as small as it is suitable for that young person
  • The discussion that go to create the book with the young person are recorded on the IT system as (i.e) victim awareness or anger management etc.
  • Previous books can be used to help young people to discuss the creation of their own book
  • The books are used for young people on Orders as well as young people that are on Out of Court Disposals (for example- in completing consequential thinking sessions for young people on Conditional Cautions)



YOT: West Sussex Youth Offending Team
Name: Jules Wilson/Paul Wood
Telephone: 013302223135/07834713363
E-mail: jules.wilson@westsussex.gov.uk/paul.wood@westsussex.gov.uk
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